This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
The teacher of textiles and clothing usually finds herself in a position in which she must practise the strictest economy of time in her class-room procedure. The lessons must be presented in the clearest possible manner; no time must be wasted in her demonstrations; whether her class be small or large, she must strive to reach each pupil by her demonstration, and withal sustain the interest of the group; the lessons must have injected into them some element vitally related to other interests and experiences of her pupils. Whether the subject is being presented to children, adults, prospective teachers or home-makers, there is abundant opportunity to use illustrative material as a means of simplifying instruction and saving time. The effectiveness of its use will depend wholly upon the sound judgment, resourcefulness, originality and ingenuity of the teacher. In the writer's experience, the abundant use of illustrative material has not only been found a time-saver, in that it quickened the students' perception of the constructive principles being taught, but most important of all, careful preparation of the material has clarified her own presentation of the lessons.
Illustrative material should be used in a large, non-stereotyped fashion, with frequent changes in type, adapting it to the principles to be taught. It can safely be placed in the hands of pupils themselves, either to review, letting several pupils work under class criticism, or to develop a new from an old problem, in application of familiar principles. Put into the hands of an entire class to follow a demonstration that is being given with the use of similar material in the teacher's hands, it is an excellent test of observation and attention to directions. For example - have class make different types of cuffs and collar bands in paper, illustrating inter-linings, stitchings, etc., as the demonstration is given step by step; or, make a basted cambric model of a shirt-sleeve placket facing following the demonstration.
The materials need not necessarily entail a great deal of expense to the teacher. Much of what she will use may be supplied by the school, but for many problems, that which is her own, and which she can manipulate as she chooses, will prove most effective in its use. While the materials may oftentimes be of the crudest, and least expensive kind, in choosing them the artistic element should have consideration. The effect of color and texture, even in coarse wrapping or drawing papers, must not be underestimated, while the teacher may be primarily seeking to explain purely technical processes.
The installed equipment of the class-room may be used for whatsoever illustrative principles or purposes the teacher may find it suitable. The blackboard may be used for rapid, crude illustrations, or more carefully prepared drawings, and for demonstrations of drafting. The demonstration frame serves its purpose in showing the method of making stitches, but of far more value the writer holds the various types of canvas, and half or unbleached muslins, which may be used for demonstration cloths. These can be hung from the blackboard frame, using push-pins, or from a strip of cork board or cork linoleum, which has been fitted to the top of the blackboard. The advantage of these demonstration cloths is their flexibility, varying texture and color, which lend themselves to different modes of treatment, whereas the ordinary demonstration frame is an unsteady piece of furniture. A ten-cent child's hoop, covered with soft, coarse, creamy-white canvas, set into an embroidery frame holder and fastened to some stationary piece of equipment (the open drawer of a cabinet or back of a chair) makes an excellent frame upon which to illustrate embroidery or simple stitches. Coarse wools threaded in long coarse darning needles, of which a generous supply previously threaded should always be at hand, may be used in illustrating stitches. Choice of color in wools is somewhat limited. Reds, brilliant blues and deep orange show up better to those in the rear of the room. Where illustrations of seams are being made, the cloth should be of double thickness to preserve a uniformity of process that may not confuse the beginner who may come forward to examine the work of the teacher more closely. This is necessary, too, in illustrating basting and tailor tacking. It is advisable in the buttonhole lessons and is not more difficult to handle if prepared before the lesson, by basting each side of the line for the buttonhole before cutting (use cotton of the color of the canvas so it will not show).
To adopt simple appliances, available tools, and homely stuffs to be had oftentimes merely for the asking, serves equally, purposes of explanation and of economy. Wrapping paper, for instance, has proven a valuable aid in teaching. Heavy manila paper makes durable strips upon which to prepare illustrations of the method of making stitches. Colored crayon drawing done in a large way is most helpful. Each strip of the paper should contain but one illustration, and be so hung as to show the correct holding of the cloth. The name of the stitch may be omitted from the drawing until review, when both name and method of making should be supplied by pupils. Heavy, striped wrapping paper is equally serviceable in teaching bias cutting, and the joining of bias strips; also in laying tucks and box plaits in shirtwaists, the making of placket facings in sleeves, and in making cuffs and collars. A coarse, brown wrapping paper serves well in demonstrating the adaptation of patterns. Cut in half-size models and placed on a sheet of cream-white or ecru-cambric, it conveys to the pupil in the rear of the class-room the point of demonstration, as clearly as to the one immediately in front of the teacher. Plaid tissue paper may be used to illustrate methods of patching garments, the worn spot indicated by colored crayola, or a spot burned away; to illustrate soiled spots, ink or oil may be poured upon it. This paper emphasizes the necessity for matching stripes and figures. It also answers well in the development of the model of a straight-plaited skirt in dressmaking classes. Cross-section paper for the pupils' use saves time in drafting lessons. It admits of a rapid sketch being made during the demonstration which, with its logical sequence of letters, serves good purpose in the later work. Heavy manila paper or cambric also makes substantial sheets upon which to work out the complete draft in two-colored crayola, to distinguish construction lines from the draft itself. These practical helps may be hung about the room while the pupils are drafting. A pattern in sheer material, organdie, lawn or crinoline, placed over the heavily-drawn construction lines of a draft, helps to show the relation of the construction lines to the completed pattern, while the dress-form, with lines drawn upon it to show the points for measures, is an invaluable help in showing the relation between the form and the drafted pattern.